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Medalist Sports: A Microcosm of U.S. Cycling

The most widely-recognized bike race production company in the U.S. today is Medalist Sports – and over the past twenty-plus years this company has been a key player in shaping the current landscape of pro racing in the United States. Medalist’s diverse historical portfolio over the years has included the Tour de Trump, Tour DuPont, the Tour de Georgia, Tours of Utah and Missouri, the U.S. Pro Challenge and its successor event, the Colorado Classic/Velorama, as well as the 2015 UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. Medalist also developed the original business plan and produced the Tour of California from 2006 to 2015. Over almost three decades, the company has navigated the turbulent waters of changing venues, schedules, politics, sponsors and race owners, and despite hitting several setbacks, Medalist has continued to set the tone for U.S. pro racing. Medalist’s...

Lance Armstrong: Looking to the Future

Editors’ Note: In this interview with The Outer Line, Lance Armstrong talks about his life today, his cycling-related activities, and his current business initiatives. We are fully aware that Armstrong’s public statements and opinions generate widespread controversy, and we recognize that we will be accused by many of providing a platform for someone who should no longer have a voice in the sport. However, doping – and dopers – are the elephant in cycling’s room, and to continue building a stronger sport we cannot ignore this elephant, or how it got into the room. Inarguably, Armstrong remains a widely influential person in the sport, he is the owner of a major bike shop and the producer of a wildly successful podcast, and he is unlikely to disappear from the cycling scene any time soon. As independent observers, we believe that despite Armstrong’s controversial standing in the sport,...

The Human Rights Case That Could Change Global Cycling

While the eyes of global cycling were focused on the Tour de France this past July, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) found itself in a small Toronto courtroom, as one of the defendants opposite a little-known Canadian track cyclist named Kristen Worley. As a result of that under-reported hearing, the UCI faced the possibility of losing its Olympic charter and its oversight of global cycling.  Worley may turn out to be the one of the most influential cyclists of the last decade, but few people, even within the sport, know or understand the implications of her story. The specifics of Worley’s background and current situation have been thoroughly documented by the British Sports Integrity Initiative in an arc of sports governance articles written by investigative journalist Andy Brown (here, here and here). Kristen Worley was born male. A talented runner and cyclist early in her...

Starting With A Clean Slate

The recent announcement that Amaury Sports Organization’s (ASO) major women’s race, known as “La Course,” will once again last only a single day in July during the men’s Tour de France, was a sharp jab in the side of women’s cycling – and given the recent wave of rising expectations for the sport, the backlash from cycling fans and observers has already been considerable. However, it’s time to stop pointing fingers at ASO, because women’s cycling doesn’t really need a single race which overshadows the rest of its calendar. Let’s talk about how the sport might plot a more successful path by developing its own agenda, priorities and schedule. The success of the Tour de France may have made the Amaurys a wealthy family, but its domination of the men’s sport has not always been a positive thing. ASO and the interests of the Tour often stand in the way of the teams’ and...

The UCI Election: Time to Cast the Votes

In about a week, the national federations comprising the Union Cycliste International (UCI) will vote in Bergen, Norway to elect their next President. Incumbent Brian Cookson, now completing his first term as President, faces off against David Lappartient – the former President of the French Cycling Federation (FFC), the current President of the European Cycling Union (UEC), and also a Vice President of the UCI itself. In this article, we evaluate each candidate’s record – based upon their stated positions on the key issues, historical statements to the press and public, as well as comments and recommendations from interviews which we conducted with each candidate over the past two weeks.  In the final section, we recommend and endorse the candidate who we believe is best-suited to guide the UCI and shape the next four years of global cycling. Brian Cookson has been credited for his...

Canary In The Coal Mine?

The announcement that the Cannondale-Drapac pro cycling team may be on the brink of folding came as a surprise – though it probably shouldn’t have. Pro cycling is almost completely dependent on sponsorship to keep its economic wheels turning, and a sponsor’s decision to pull up and walk away can make or break a team in an instant. Many teams operate close to this financial precipice in cycling’s current economics, so why do some fail when others thrive? Cannondale-Drapac’s predicament highlights an important difference between teams which are primarily backed by passionate and wealthy patrons, versus those which are sponsored by corporations. Patrons typically have the flexibility, and the money to “burn” on their passions and interests. On the other hand, corporations have to undertake in-depth financial analyses and calculations before committing to a sporting sponsorship – before...

Pat McQuaid is Alive and Well

Once the most powerful man in cycling, Pat McQuaid is now living a quiet life in the countryside of southern France. After achieving success as a racer in the 1970s, he became involved with cycling’s governance starting in 1993, when he was elected President of the Irish Cycling Federation. As President of the UCI from 2005 to 2013, he oversaw a transitional period in the organization; the sport was growing rapidly in the wake of Lance Armstrong’s compelling story and seven successive Tour de France wins, and also due to globalization strategies set in motion by the UCI’s first President, the late Hein Verbruggen. McQuaid has maintained a low profile since his two-term tenure as UCI President ended in 2013, but he still has a finger on the pulse of global cycling. His successor, Brian Cookson, is wrapping up his four year term as President of the UCI, and is facing a strong challenge...

Tour de Pharmacy’s Tough Punchline

Fans of the TV show Portlandia are amused by the quirky portrayals of Portland’s residents, and the unique ways in which they interact with their insular world. But for actual residents of the city of Portland, the show can make for uncomfortable viewing because it highlights the all-too-real stereotypes of the people, places, and activities that make the socially-progressive city one of the centers of the of the tree-hugging, liberal world. Cycling’s die-hard fans and its stakeholders are in for the same rude awakening, when HBO Films’ “mockumentary” Tour de Pharmacy airs on July 8th. There is an old adage – that often things which are said in jest are said half in truth. Satire and comedy often reflect the uncomfortable aspects of real life, and in this light some cycling fans may enjoy the program, but there will probably be just as many fans turned off or offended by the portrayal...